It was a much quieter day in Birmingham on Wednesday with the first quartet of second round matches. Thursday’s schedule looks great although i’m not sure I will get to watch much of it as it’s tennis night and probably my last one for a while with all the tennis festivities coming! This will likely be my last post before I head down to Eastbourne. Read on for six stories in Wednesday’s Set Points post.
Rybarikova d. Mladenovic (Birmingham, R2)
Magdalena Rybarikova is into her fourth quarter-final at Birmingham after a 3-6 6-2 6-1 victory over a fading, Kristina Mladenovic. I watched the first set during my lunch break. Mladenovic made the much more positive start as she looked to come forward and be aggressive. Rybarikova was just missing too many shots, particularly off return. Rybarikova was starting to come back into the match at the end of the set as she managed to come forward on a few occasions. Mladenovic just about got across the finish line, aided by her serve, as she converted on her seventh set point.
After I stopped watching, Rybarikova won 12 of the last 15 games! This is only Rybarikova’s second quarter-final of the year. We know what Magda can do on grass though…
While I was working…
Dalila Jakupovic made it back-to-back quarter-finals in Nottingham and Birmingham after Naomi Osaka was forced to retire after a set. It was an abdominal injury for Osaka, which she has had issues with before. Fingers crossed she will be OK for Wimbledon. She is on the entry list for Eastbourne next week.
Elina Svitolina saved all five break points faced in a 6-4 6-2 win over Alizé Cornet. This is just her second quarter-final appearance on grass having reached the QFs of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2014 where she lost out to Zheng Jie… blast from the past!
Buzarnescu d. Martic (Birmingham, R2)
Mihaela Buzarnescu continues to dazzle on the WTA tour as she came from a set and a break down to beat Petra Martic, 4-6 6-3 6-2. Settling down after an erratic opening set, Buzarnescu became increasingly accurate as Martic retreated behind the baseline. Buzarnescu absolutely battered Martic’s second serve in the decider and finished in top form.
Buzarnescu has been an absolute revelation this year and looks so confident right now. I just love, love, LOVE her forehand. It’s such a great shot. Buzarnescu has now made it back-to-back quarter-finals on the grass in Nottingham and Birmingham, and will face a French Open rematch against Elina Svitolina in the last eight. Fascinating.
I’m hoping to see Buzarnescu in Eastbourne as she’s the highest ranked player I have no photos of!
Halep out of Eastbourne
I was gutted to learn that Simona Halep has pulled out of Eastbourne with an achilles injury. Via Women’s Tennis Forums, Elena Vesnina is also out of Eastbourne and Wimbledon… interesting?
No news yet on the wild cards – i’m wondering whether Sloane or Madison may opt for one?
Wimbledon wild cards
The first batch of wild cards have been announced for Wimby. For the women, it’s mostly the brits with ITF Manchester champ, Ons Jabeur deservedly getting one too. There’s one left to be handed out. Jakupovic would definitely be deserving of a wild card after her recent runs in Nottingham and Birmingham. The other three names suggested which sound plausible are Sabine Lisicki, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Eugenie Bouchard.
Thursday’s schedule in Birmingham
The remaining quartet of second round matches will be played on Thursday – on paper, a much more inviting slate of matches compared to Wednesday. I’m most intrigued by Goerges vs. Barty. There will also be another grass court match-up between Muguruza and Strycova after Strycova won, 6-1 6-0 in their second round clash in Eastbourne last year.